Big Ten Conference play ramps up when the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0, 0-0 Big 10) host the Wisconsin Badgers (2-1, 0-0 Big 10) in primetime on Saturday night. Ohio State knocked off the Badgers twice in 2019, the last time these teams met, beating Wisconsin 38-7 and again in the Big Ten Championship, 34-21.
Kickoff for the contest is at 7:30 p.m. EST inside Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes are a 19.5-point favorite, and the over/under total is 57.0 points.
What to Know – Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin enters the fourth week of the season with a pair of blowout wins over inferior opponents and a narrow 17-14 loss to Washington State in Week 2. The Badgers expect to be one of the teams at the end of the season battling for the top spot in the Big Ten West.
Junior quarterback Graham Mertz is the leader of the Wisconsin offense, passing for 697 yards and six touchdowns through the first three contests. Mertz has completed 71% of his passes with a pair of interceptions thrown.
Wisconsin is traditionally known for having a punishing rushing attack, and that is no different this season with the bruising 6’2, 235-pound Braelon Allen. The sophomore has rushed 50 times for 332 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, and has found the endzone five times.
When Mertz does drop back to throw, he spreads the ball around to a pair of wideouts and his tight end. Chimere Dike leads the team with nine receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown, while Skyler Bell has caught eight passes for 146 yards and a pair of scores. Two of tight end Clay Cundiff’s receptions have gone for scores.
What to Know – #3 Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State comes into the contest with a lot of expectations for the season as one of the top teams in the nation. The offense looks the part, and the defense is there now to compliment it under the direction of new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
Heisman hopeful C.J. Stroud has put up gaudy numbers through three weeks, tossing 11 touchdown passes and completing 72.9% of his passes for 941 yards. Stroud has yet to turn the ball over and is currently the leading Heisman candidate.
The Buckeyes utilized three rushers early in the year, with Miyan Williams leading the way carrying the ball 32 times for 207 yards and a touchdown. TreVeyon Henderson has 197 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while Dallas Hayden adds 121 yards and one score.
With Jaxon Smith-Njiba out, wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka have been Stroud’s primary targets in the passing attack. Harrison Jr. has 342 yards and five scores on 18 receptions, and Egbuka leads the Buckeyes with 20 receptions for 324 yards and three touchdowns.
The Pick is In
Ohio State, with a formidable defense, is going to make life miserable for the Big Ten. We find that out Saturday night with a blowout victory over the Badgers.
The Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes -19.5